Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri’s thoughts have already turned to keeping his title-winning squad together next season, with the Italian warning potential suitors they will have to pay over the odds to lure away any of his shining lights.
Leicester capped a fairytale campaign with confirmation of a first Premier League title on Monday and Ranieri wasted little time in telling his players that their interests would be best served by staying at the King Power stadium.
“I would like to maintain all my players. If one of my players says to me ‘I want to go there’, I will try to keep him,” the 64-year-old told British media.
“I will suggest to everybody this is a fantastic club, we won the title, we can do something good in these few years. If you go away, you don’t know what will happen. Here you are the king.”
Ranieri acknowledged that bids for standouts Riyad Mahrez, N’Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy were likely to be made in the close season but suggested it would take vast sums to prise them away.
“I will say: ‘Do you have enough money to buy my players?'” he added.
“It is much better to stay here for one year more and see what happens. Then maybe you can go anywhere. The Champions League is another important league to compare yourself to the other champions.
“The lads are like my sons. If they come to me, I say this: ‘be careful’. Leicester in the long term will go to a very high position.”
The manager also played down speculation over his own future, with Leicester reportedly prepared to improve terms on the three-year deal he signed when joining the club last July.
“I have three years,” he said. “Why do I have to sign a new contract? It is not my job, my job is to go on the pitch.”